Nearly half of the manufacturers responding to a recent survey indicated that they are forecasting improvement in the economy over the next 12 months and 50% expect revenues to increase during this period. Results from a survey from the International Profit Associates Small Business Research Board were released Aug. 24.
Looking at the entire database of small-medium sized companies, 42% believe the economy will improve during the next year and 46% are expecting revenue growth.
"There is a significant variance in the confidence levels of manufacturers versus those of the general small business community and those of construction companies and contractors. By the end of the year, we will be able to determine whether the perceived strength in the manufacturing is based upon existing orders or new contracts," said Gregg Steinberg, president of International Profit Associates.
Hiring among manufacturers is projected to remain healthy with 38% of those surveyed planning to add employees while 45% said their workforce will remain the same. Only 5% had plans to decrease the size of their workforce.
Nevertheless, finding quality employees, cost of materials, the general economy, and taxes -- listed as the top four issues of concern among manufacturers -- may present serious obstacles to meeting the growth projections. Finding quality employees was listed by 17% of the manufacturing respondents as their most significant issue. Other major issues were cost of materials (16%), taxes, (13%) and economic conditions (12%). Only 2% of the manufacturers said energy and fuel were there greatest concern, while 15% of the universal group of all small businesses said it was their leading issue.